Evading strategic cruisers

20th February 2010 – 3.08 pm

I get my fearsome new Onyx to the corporation tower in w-space safely. It's a few hours after the bumbling ambush attempt and the wormhole route between our home system and high-sec space is clear. My Crane is left back at my manufacturing base, to be picked up another day, as a fleet quickly assembles to engage Sleepers in an adjacent w-space system. I tuck the Onyx away in a hangar, board my Guardian, and I'm ready. We jump in to the neighbouring system and warp to a Sleeper anomaly.

The first anomaly is cleared quickly and easily, at which point another colleague is keen to join us in w-space. We take the break in combat as an opportunity to guide her in, as two of us salvage the cleared anomaly. Everyone assembles at the tower, dropping off salvage and getting back in to our combat ships, and our new pilot tends to her battleship's fitting, modifying it to be more suitable for w-space. The fleet warps back to the neighbouring system to continue clearing anomalies, leaving our colleague to catch up when she's ready. The bookmark for the connecting wormhole is in a can at the tower, which she needs to get as she didn't grab all the points on the way in.

Sleeper combat continues smoothly, the first wave destroyed and only a couple of ships remaining in the second, when our lagging capsuleer asks why there are people shooting her at our wormhole. The question is made so casually that I am convinced we are about to be warped as a fleet to repel the minimal force that must be engaging our battleship. But I punch the directional scanner to get an udpate on ships in the system and I turn white. Three Proteus Tech III strategic cruisers, two Loki Tech III strategic cruisers, one Legion Tech III strategic cruiser, a Megathron battleship, a Brutix battlecruiser, two Guardian logistic ships, and an Ishtar heavy assault ship are all revealed, and that's not accounting for what may remain on the other side of the wormhole. We are in serious trouble.

Our pilot newly brought in to w-space is popped and podded with no ceremony. Our fleet leader has heard the communications, and has obviously seen the force on d-scan too, warping us out of the anomaly and to a random position in the system. His orders are clear: get safe and log out. We are no match for the hostile force and trying to get back through our wormhole would be suicide. Our only option is to get to an arbitrary point in the system and disappear, hoping that the hostile fleet will move on if they see no targets for a suitable amount of time. I start warping around the system to create a good safe spot when I hear our frozen corpse of a capsuleer suggest that these enemy ships may be collapsing the wormhole. Getting trapped in a w-space system with no scanning boat will make it incredibly difficult to get out to New Eden or back to our tower, as it could take a separate pilot weeks to track down the specific system we are in, and I don't relish that one bit. I wonder if what we are doing really is our only option

The hostile fleet is first noticed at the connecting wormhole in our home system, when they engage our colleague, and only seen in this neighbouring system afterwards. And a second wormhole was found earlier in our home w-space system, connecting to a class 6 system, which are particularly dangerous systems. It makes sense that such a formidable fleet has come from the class 6 system, which means they didn't come from the other direction. I know the route to high-sec New Eden is still available, as I only travelled it a short while ago. If the hostile fleet hasn't been in this system yet, they won't know about any exit wormholes, so warping to it should be clear. And if I can get to the wormhole leading out of this system, I can probably make it to high-sec space. Ditching my ship in New Eden is far from ideal, but finding a route from the tower to any one of the completely connected systems in New Eden is significantly easier than trying to find a particular w-space system. I abandon my safe-spot and warp trepidatiously to the exit wormhole.

It's clear. There are no ships on the wormhole out of the system, and I jump out and make the couple more jumps back to known space safely. There is an alt back at the tower, so I tell him that I made it to high-sec. 'You may have just saved the fleet' he tells me, although I don't understand completely until he explains. I am asked to buy a covert operations scanning boat quickly, and fly it back in to the w-space system. I can scan to see if the system is clear and if it isn't I park the ship in a safe-spot to provide a scanning boat to get the fleet out to New Eden at a later time. We have a pilot at the tower who can find a connecting route to known space, now I am providing the opportunity to do the same for the fleet. It really is a life-line for those capsuleers in our fleet.

I quickly buy a Buzzard and fit it with the basics needed to be an effective scanning boat. I don't pay as much attention to price as location, needing the ship and modules quickly, and I am soon in my second new Tech II ship of the day, heading back to w-space again. I have another dilemma, though. It is not possible to see what is on the other side of a wormhole, and I don't like the idea that I could be jumping through in to a fleet of hostile Tech III ships. Word has got to the rest of our fleet about my escape and they decide to make a break for it towards high-sec, assuming that the hostile fleet hasn't cared to find this wormhole themselves. Warping to within a good range of the exit wormhole and using d-scan they reveal no ships in range, and warp the rest of the way to the wormhole to jump out of the system. I use this information to jump in.

Despite having a capsuleer capable of scanning back at the tower, his skills are not optimal. Our fleet has all managed to get safely out to New Eden using our previously scanned route, so as I don't need to scan them out later I can try to get back home and instead find a route for them to come back another day. D-scan suggests this neighbouring system is clear of the hostile force, and pointing my scanner directly at the wormhole reveals no ships there either. They may have gone home already. I am in a covert operations boat with a cloaking device, it may be possible to blast through the wormhole quickly. I take the risk.

The wormhole is clear on both sides, and I warp with huge relief back to the corporation tower. The wormhole is somewhat destabilised, as suggested earlier, but it is unclear whether the hostile fleet were trying to collapse it or not. We suffer the unfortunate loss of one battleship, but the early warning it gave may have saved the rest of us. Some quick thinking and communicating then ensures the fleet is given the best chance of returning to the tower within a day or so, instead of being horribly lost. I am impressed with our recovery of the situation. And I get a new toy. It has been another exciting day in w-space.

  1. 4 Responses to “Evading strategic cruisers”

  2. I'm confused - why couldn't you have warped to zero on the wormhole under seige, jumped through and warped back to the POS from there? Or am I wrong in thinking that the only risk involved there would be if they had the other side of the wh bubbled?

    By Varakkys on Feb 21, 2010

  3. They just need a ship on either side of the wormhole capable of holding a point to pose a significant threat. Whilst it is possible to warp to zero and jump quickly enough, the aggressors can simply follow us to the other side just as quickly, where they would have no problems locking and pointing a battleship before it could align and warp, and probably even a cruiser-sized hull.

    A much more agile ship, or one fitted with a covert operations cloak, may be able to get away with a quick jump, but anything bigger is going to get caught by any competent pilot.

    By pjharvey on Feb 21, 2010

  4. Good info. I didn't realise that a hostile could jump and lock you that quickly.

    By Varakkys on Feb 22, 2010

  5. An interceptor has chased me through a wormhole. I accidentally bomb him in my Manticore and warp off, but have to use the wormhole he's on to get home.

    A couple of minutes later, I warp to zero and jump. As soon as he sees me he follows, jumping maybe a second after I do. I believe it is only because I am able to activate my cloak when initiating warp on the other side of the wormhole that the 'ceptor is prevented from getting a lock, after which I would be scrambled and he'd call in his friend in the HAC to finish me off.

    It's also worth noting that a cloak cannot always be activated after jumping through a wormhole, as your ship can sometimes be too close to the cosmic anomaly. It's dangerous out there.

    By pjharvey on Feb 22, 2010

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed.